On 2 August 2021, Businessman Elie Taktouk was unanimously convicted of 11 counts of fraud and forgery offences relating to a failed property redevelopment in Knightsbridge following a four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court (reported in the Daily Mail on 3 August 2021)
On 23 September 2021 Elie Taktouk was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court (reported in the Daily Mail on 23 September 2021). Mr Taktouk, ordered to attend for sentencing, failed to attend and was sentenced in his absence. A warrant was issued for his arrest and late the same night, Mr Taktouk was found by Police and arrested in a dramatic scene. Elie Taktouk was given a total sentence of 7 years for the fraud he committed. He was also disqualified from being a director of any UK company for a period of ten years.
During sentence, His Honour Judge Milne QC outlined the facts of the fraud and noted the findings of the jury: That Elie Taktouk had lied to investors from very early on and that Mr Taktouk had lied to obtain cash from the Noels which he then used for his own personal expenditure. His Honour found that the offences committed by Mr Taktouk had a considerable impact upon the victims, Frank Noel and Adrien Noel, as well the main contractor Joseph Farah who has suffered because of Taktouks attempts to place blame on him.
The judge remarked that Elie Taktouk’s attitude to the truth was at times “bewildering”, that Taktouk saw the truth as only what suited him in the moment. His Honour remarked that he would find it hard to rely upon almost anything said by Elie Taktouk unless it was backed with independent evidence.
Mr Taktouk evaded police arrest until late in the evening when he was finally located and arrested. Mr Taktouk is now remanded in custody.
The matter will now proceed to confiscation.
This case is significant because it illustrates a growing trend for private prosecutions to be brought by individuals, corporates and charities as state prosecutors continue to suffer from a lack of resources to investigate and prosecute complex fraud. Edmonds Marshall McMahon is the UK’s leading private prosecution firm. It specialises in complex and high value fraud cases. This team was led by Kate McMahon (Partner), Jane Guthrie (Senior Associate) and Mai Holdom (Associate) with assistance from Andrew Marshall (Partner) and Alex Young (paralegal). Our thanks extends to our Counsel Team: Richard Whittam QC (Matrix Chambers) and Henry Hughes (187 Fleet Street) and Rebecca Chalkley (18 Red Lion Court) Kate McMahon has recently written about how to avoid becoming a victim of development fraud in Family Capital.